In an Australian legal first, magistrate Brian Maloney yesterday found four men guilty of assaulting a Muslim convert in a religion-inspired whipping.
Herald Sun (h/t Colin W) Christian Martinez, 32, was held down and beaten 40 times with an electrical cord in his Silverwater home in July 2011, leaving him bloodied and scarred. In his judgment, Mr Maloney said assaults committed as part of a religion that involved “mortification of the flesh” had never been before a court in any common-law country – until now.
Mr Martinez converted to Islam three years before the incident and fell under the wing of Wasim Fayad, 44, who he saw as his “spiritual leader” and referred to as Brother Fadi. The electrician had called Fayad and told him he wanted to make a fresh start after an all-night bender drinking and taking drugs at Ivy nightclub.
His mentor and three other men, Zakaryah Raad, 21, Tolga Cifki, 21, and Gengiz Coskin, 22, came to his house and he was then pinned to his bed as Fayad repeatedly lashed him with the cord. “I’m only doing this because I love you … next time you want to drink or take drugs you’re going to remember this pain,” Fayad said.
Yesterday Mr Maloney said the victim had withdrawn his consent while the beating was taking place and any permission he had given was uninformed, and also invalid as a matter of public policy.
“Surely such incidents should not be tolerated by the courts (and) the common law provides the best deterrent against them,” he said. Mr Martinez said he consented to only three lashes, begging the men to stop as he cried in pain.
He said one of the men read from the Koran that he should get 80 lashes for drinking alcohol, but Fayad agreed they would give him only 40. He was told Allah had “cleansed” the “impurity” from his body as he repeatedly vomited during pauses in the whipping.